March 30, 2020
How a $4,550 Bespoke Bicycle is Made

How a $4,550 Bespoke Bicycle is Made


It’s a bit like an addiction. You’ve got to
make something, you have to do something. It’s borderline obsession. And every bike we build is my favorite bike at
the time, and as soon as it’s done I want to build another one. Sven Cycles is something I’ve been thinking about ever since I started cycling in my late teens. We want bikes that, ultimately, you’ll really
enjoy riding. There’s never a bike that’s the same. There’s always a slight change. And as we build them individually as well, they have the marks
of a bike that’s built by hand. Most people I know who cycle have an idea
of their dream bicycle. And it may be an evolving idea you’ve had in your head. We’ve worked
with a lot of people that have come to us with sketches, scrapbooks and it’s really, really
nice to build something that’s just one-off and unique. I think a lot of people see a bicycle as two wheels and a frame in the middle. There are a lot of subtle changes and nuances in design which can change the riding characteristics quite dramatically. I’m a really big fan of modernist architecture and the simplicity of a modernist building is really hard to achieve. And with some of our bikes, they may look very simple but I think people should not underestimate the time and effort that goes in to designing a product. Tubing is key to a bike’s feel and ride. Reynolds tubing has been in my life ever
since I can remember. Growing up, I could never afford a frame manufactured with their tubing. We can now put a badge on our bike saying, “Manufactured with Reynolds”, which is the sort of thing, as a kid, I just wouldn’t have believed was going to happen. Every part of the bike has a specific tube. It’s not universal.
The first thing we do is get the tubes out check their correct, check the wall thicknesses,
sand the edges, make sure it’s all really clean because if it’s not clean the tubes
won’t join together correctly. We build in steel because I still believe
it’s one of the best materials to use. It’s been used in bikes since the late 1800s, and they’re still using it now for a very good reason. It’s a flexibility we could remove a tube,
replace a tube, repaint the bike and you wouldn’t know it was damaged. I just like working with it, it’s very sculptural. This isn’t aerospace precision engineering.
It’s a steel ruler and a marker. So when we’re cutting the tubes it’s within a mil or two. But what we’re trying to do is take the best
from bicycle building in the past and add a little bit of modern flair to it. There’s various techniques for building bicycles.
We do a thing called fillet brazing, where you connect the pipe together. We use a bronze
rod and a flame, we heat the tubes up to the same temperature and we fill the joint with
bronze and it gives a very sort of fluid lovely, quite sculptural feel. You’ve just got to practice. You’ve got to be able to judge material temperatures, you got to just look at it and you just get a feel for it. It’s the stage where your tubes start to look a bit like a bicycle. My father’s a jeweller. He would make very pretty things, which are lovely but for me they don’t really have any function. What
I love about bicycles is you can start on Monday with a box of tubes and you can be riding it by the weekend. And it can last you for the rest of your life. Outside of the frame or forks, the other most
important part is the wheels and tires. When you build the wheel you have to lace them. So there’s little holes going all the way around the rim, you poke the spoke through. We build all our wheels by hand here because a machine can’t get 30 years’ worth of wheel-building experience. Color is very personal. With any of our bikes, you can have them painted whatever color you want. We’ve matched one to a teapot so we can get that scanned and we can match that, or someone’s favourite item of clothing. I like to let the bike sit for four or five
days minimum just so the paint can have time to cure a little bit, and then we assemble it. We get out all the new components and it’s a case of putting them together. Some bikes you can assemble in three hours, some would take three days. We’ve built bikes that cost in the ten thousand pound plus mark. Some people, they’re saving up, and this is their bike and they’re going to own it for the rest of their life so we just want to
make sure we get the right thing. I think the bike for me was the first time
I had some freedom. So as soon as I had one I was off. A lot of people still get that thrill when they were a kid blasting down a hill wind going through their hair. It’s fun. Everyone has their favorite jacket or something that just makes them feel good. If you’ve got a bike that fits well you actually feel part of it. Building bicycles as a creative outlet is fantastic. It’s not something you do because you’re going
to get a big pay check at the end of the day. You do it because you have a passion for it.

100 thoughts on “How a $4,550 Bespoke Bicycle is Made

  1. That is just targeted to idiots. 4.500€ for a bike with "feel precision" welding, 2mm of margin in cuts, steel frame and an arguable set of handmade rims "because machines don't have 30 years of experience". Yeah. I'd like to see him weld side to side with a machine. By the way you can get a BRAND NEW motercicle for that kind of money.

  2. Some people don’t get it, but I’m an owner of two custom bicycles and it’s impossible to describe the experience of riding one. Imagine getting into a custom suit that was made for you. Now take that experience and imagine flying effortlessly in that suit. That’s kind of what it’s like.

  3. the fact that carbon is light and stiff is very true, but the myth that it is uncomfortable has stuck around 20 years later… carbon is the "wonder material" for bikes. When well engineered and applied, parts of the frame can be super stiff, other parts really compliant. (and virtually all carbon frames are handmade…) Im not going to say anything negative about this guys handmade steel frames- they do look really nice, but virtually ALL carbon bikes in this price range come with much nicer components, and yes will be lighter. Plus, if someone wants to spend that kind of money or more on a bike that will "last a lifetime" BUY A TITANIUM BICYCLE. (oh and btw-this is coming from a guy that owns 3 steel bikes, and has owned aluminum, carbon and ti bikes as well and has worked in the industry close to 10 years.)

  4. These people in the comments probably only rode walmart and or whatever bike they found in an outdoor store. Hand crafted bikes like this will last more than double the lifespan of the machine made store bought bike.

  5. Jesus, all the negative comments from people who never had a custom bike. No one berates a Bugatti owner for that extravagance, but somehow spending 1/200th that much on a personalized bicycle is 'ridiculous'? Pfft.

  6. I love custom bikes. I have several off the shelf bikes, because I can't afford custom. I have a friend who bought a custom built Titanium bike. Thanks.

  7. Most of the people in the comments don't seep to want or care for quality craftsmanship. Because there is so much competition in cycling brands, you get what you pay for. I have spent thousands on my bikes over the years. There are lots of custom steel and Titanium bike makers out there so find a guy that makes the stuff you like. Thanks.

  8. Ugh…. Another buzz word for the next 5 years…. Bespoke…remember when it just used to be Custom? Thank some marketing exec for making up this buzz word for everyone else to use to death.

  9. 4500 dollars can buy you so much fucking bike it's obscene
    this is just a collectible, tour riders use off the rack frames
    You don't need wheel or frame building experience
    if you care about performance, you would go with carbon aeroframe and wheels

  10. bicycles are so cool. not a huge rider but as a kid i certainly did. it's such a understated, analog form of transport

  11. Literally any steel or aluminum frame will last a lifetime, this is a bit bs. They're just adding a bunch of unessisary labour and design. Most bike wheels are hand built, there's nothing special about that, any bike shop will build your wheels for like $50-70

  12. All that non stop yammering still doesn't justify the price 4550 USD. Please, give me break. He is just a stuck up salesman, and people buying them are stupid.

  13. quenching a weld/ braze with water afterwards is bad for the strength of the joint. it becomes brittle.

  14. Slow motion closeups of bits of the bike with the sun shining in the background? check.
    Guy wanking on about how handmade and custom they are? check.
    exorbitant price for hipster suckers? check.

  15. they are probably just building teyre bikes out of steel because it is the easiest material to work with and build a bike out of it .
    and they probably arent using a wheel building machine becaus ethey cant affort one and machine build whelles are today mostly more precise than hand build ones.

  16. hahaha SVEN is the max. homosexual name ever. Imho.
    but what a genius, having that huge bike to be able to ride his dogs lol, thats meant for kids ahahaha what a jerk

  17. I own a $2k bike, ride it to work every day of the year. If I was spending more on a bike for something truly custom designed for my body, I'd want more than decades of experience – I'd want science and technology to help give me the most comfortable and efficient ride possible, and I'd want materials and components that are virtually bulletproof (i.e., titanium frames that don't rust, belts or shafts that don't stretch or require lubrication, leather substitutes that don't deform due to water exposure). If I'm looking for craftsmanship, I'd much prefer to get an old bike restored by someone and treat it like a hobby purchase

  18. So everything is same as hundred dollar bike, except it's just something you love? So i am paying because you love it. Hah. Not sure if this is how capitalism suppose to work.

    Great video though. If anybody still purchase one, it will be solely because of the video.

  19. A lot of scoffers on here, same people that couldn't build a bike themselves so seek to denigrate those that can. I can spot a Roberts bike from 100 yards away , work that one out all you idiots that have said big budget global brands are far superior.

  20. The price is steep, but it gets you something none of us will ever understand the value of. A high quality bike fitted to your body and preferences.

  21. I understand that you're paying a premium for the craftsmanship and uniqueness of each bicycle, but why aren't you getting the most premium materials? Also, maybe it's because I'm not an English steel tube enthusiast, but what makes those steel tubes so special? Also it's pretty ridiculous how he can say they aren't making their bikes as precise as a machine could in one sentence, but then say that 30 years of human experience is better than any machine could ever do. Which is it? Is a machine more capable than a human, but lacks a human touch, or is the machine less capable than the human?

  22. Despite what are the materials, you are just paying the expensive wage in U.K not for the craftsmanship. It's clearly dosen't worse it.

  23. This bicycle is worth $4500.00 its gorgeous. I have an old bicycle shop in my town which build custom bikes, they're no where near
    what this guy is doing.

  24. I would only pay that much if it was titanium or carbon, just because there is so much skill that goes into making this bike doesn't mean that it would be worth the purchase. I understand why it is so expensive however as the production is so small and they put together the wheels and the frame which seems reasonable for the price

  25. I'm not paying that much for a handmade bike if he isn't binding the carbon fiber himself. I can buy a far better ride for a tenth the price because the fact is that a bike isn't all that "emotional."

  26. "It's not something you do 'cause you're gonna get a big paycheck at the end of the day"
    It takes a week and costs 5k you posh dickhead

  27. So, pretty much overpriced ordinary heavy steel pipe bikes like in the 50’s, nothing special just the marketing around them.
    Wow.

  28. I wouldn’t pay $5,000 for a bike but I really love this guys passion for the craft and I’m always a fan of handmade anything. 🤟🏼

  29. The last video I saw was a $40,000 rug. Totally worth it. A work of art and beauty. These bikes are nice, but $5,000! My bike cost $200 and it works fine. I'm just mad because I want that bike! …I better start learning how to weave rugs too cuz that ain't happening either.🤯

  30. انا اسوي اباريج مرافق بأيدي.. من الطفولة وانا مامقتنع بالابريج التقليدي.. لذلك قررت اصنعه بكل فخر.. هسه انا ابيع الابريج ب 500 دولار ومع كل ابريج ابيعه احس بايع جزء من عندي لانه قطعه فنيه فاخره

  31. I would rather own a machine made bike with the same precision n half the cost. Actually who am I kidding I just drive a car.

  32. "It will last a lifetime" is such a bullshit argument when it comes to bikes, any bike can last a lifetime if it doesn't get stolen or you crash it. I got my daily rider from a dumpster and it has lasted me 10 years so far, I've only changed the tyres a couple of times, and since it looks like garbage no-one will steal it, unlike these overpriced thief magnets.

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